Following a winning Paralympic campaign, which included securing two Gold medals in the Canoe-sprint, defence veteran and Griffith University Aviation student Curtis McGrath OAM says it feels pretty good to be home.
McGrath took Gold in the kayak single 200m KL2 and the Va’a single 200m VL3 event. The VL3 was a Paralympic first with the va’a event’s Games debut.
His KL2 victory was a successful repeat of his winning performance in Rio in 2016.
“Now that I am home it almost feels as though it was a blink and you miss it moment,” he said.
“It was hard to train solidly for another 12 months (after the pandemic delayed the Games).
“I am quite relieved it’s done and we can look forward to getting over Covid and start to look at Paris when I get back into training.”
His heroic efforts have inspired Aussies and sports fans around the world. He’s come a long way from 2012, when the young Australian Army sapper on tour in Afghanistan lost both his legs in an IED blast.
“Life certainly has changed a lot and most people would think for the worse, but this couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.
“I have had so many amazing opportunities present themselves to me, sport being one of them.”
“This has given me a purpose and a healthy and active lifestyle. It was a key part of my recovery as I was a sporty person before I got injured.”
He’s now aiming sky high, completing a degree in Aviation at Griffith in between training, competition and family commitments.
“Growing up I wanted to be a fighter pilot in the air force,” he said.
“As life played out, I wasn’t to be a fighter pilot, but I still have an interest in aviation.
“I know sport won’t last for ever and I needed to find something that was going to help me progress after I retire.”
“I thought why not do something that interests me and has an abundance of job opportunities right around the world, minus the covid situation but that won’t last for ever.”
Curtis has been completing one or two subjects at a time around his busy schedule, utilising the support provided to elite athletes by Griffith Sports College.
“The team at Griffith Sports College has been instrumental in helping me balance all this and given me great guidance when I needed it. I intend to pick up a few more subjects in 2022,” he added.
“The college helps athletes like me balance our ambitions of representing Australia and the hopes of getting qualified for life after sport.”